"I am so so so exited to be coming over to this part of our now so small planet. So many times I looked on a map when I was a kid and I always wondered if one day I would be able to get myself to Australia. It will be amazing to play for you guys! Life is really a dream isn't it?
All my love. Com um enorme carinho aos brasileiros daí.”
Os Mutantes - Brazil’s legendary psychedelic band, founding members of 1960’s Tropicália movement and godfathers of indie music, have today announced that they will be bringing their highly influential, genre bending collage of sounds to Australia for the very first time in March 2011.
Lead by Sergio Dias (original member & front man since 1966), avant-garde pioneers Os Mutantes, will take you on a musical journey performing their rich catalogue of legendary tracks. Starting in the late 60’s - when they revolutionised the Brazilian music scene, to the mind tripping 70’s which eventually saw the group disband, to their first album in 35 years - 2009’s acclaimed ‘Hait or Amortecedor’.
Bursting onto the Brazilian music scene some 35 years ago as Sao Paolo teenagers, the three young Mutantes rocked the foundations traditional Brazilian music was built on with their (then) radical use of electric instruments and ingenious creation and experimentation with avant-garde sounds (including using a can of fly spray to replace the sound of a hi-hat cymbal on track ‘Le Premiere Bonheur du Jour’ of their self titled debut, or achieving distorted vocals on track ‘Desculpe, Babe’ off their third album ‘A Divina Comédia ou Ando Meio Desligado’ by attaching a rubber hose to a hot chocolate tin with a tiny microphone inside). Their anti-establishment mentality and left of centre creativity saw Os Mutantes become one of the most revolutionary bands to emerge from the psychedelic scene.
These radical teens (the original line-up consisting of Sergio Dias, his brother Arnaldo Baptista and his girlfriend Rita Lee) were heavily influenced by the counterculture movement and its new sound, specifically that of The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones. Creating their distinct kind of psychedelia, from the cultural and musical cannibalism of all cultures (known as ‘antropofagia’ – the driving cultural concept of Tropicália), Os Mutantes combined traditional Brazilian music with the sounds of Europe and North America.
Emerging during a period of creative repression in Brazil (stemming from Brazil’s 1964 coup d’état), the Tropicália movement saw artists from all disciplines engage in discussions, forming new ideologies - using their craft and increasing public profile to protest against Brazil’s military government. Having launched their musical careers on Brazilian TV (by the late 1960’s TV had become an increasingly influential medium in South America), their involvement with Tropicália meant all Os Mutantes’ songs were subsequently submitted to government censors.
Despite these constraints, Os Mutantes remained intent on defying authority and ensured each public appearance had an intentional ‘authority offence’, whereby they would layer different sounds and noises over their lyrics so their music was as confusing as possible or they would visually protest by wearing madcap costumes including those of Don Quixote, aliens and beggars.
Despite their unconventional creativity and anti-authority behaviour, Os Mutantes’ fan base continued to grow and their protest pop music became increasingly meaningful to the disenchanted Brazilian youth who were experiencing daily violent clashes with the military, the disappearance of friends and raids by the police.
By December 1968, the military government had issued Institutional Act Number Five (AI5), closing congress and restricting freedom of speech, ending the Tropicália movement. Perhaps spared thanks to their youthful energy and innocent faces, Os Mutantes’ fellow Tropicália musicians Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil were not as fortunate. Due to their politically charged lyrics and increasing influence, both were arrested and exiled to London for three years.
Amid various lineup changes Os Mutantes continued to release an album every year through to 1972, including the acclaimed sophomore ‘Mutantes’, third album ‘A Divina Comédia ou Ando Meio Desligado’, 1971’s lost Portuguese/English crossover album ‘Tecnicolour’ (eventually found and released in 2000, with cover art by Sean Lennon no less), and Rita Lee solo albums before eventually disbanding in 1978.
In the years since they have broken up Os Mutantes has achieved cult-like status amongst a new, younger audience, who have been introduced to their warped brand of Brazilian indie-pop by influential artists including Kurt Cobain (who in 1993 appealed (unsuccessfully) to Arnaldo Baptista for Os Mutantes to reform during Nirvana’s South American tour), David Byrne, The Flaming Lips, Devendra Banhart, Of Montreal and Beck whom dedicated his 1998 album ‘Mutations’ to Os Mutantes.
Considered pioneers for their avant-garde and unconventional use of sounds, it seems some nearly 40 years later, the wider musical community are finally ready for the protest pop mutants.
Having played both the Pitchfork Festival and Glastonbury this year, Popfrenzy are proud to present Os Mutantes’ very first Australian tour.
OS MUTANTES AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2011 WITH SPECIAL GUESTS BEST COAST (USA) Tickets go on sale Thursday 18 November.
Sunday March 6 Perth International Arts Festival Tix via perthfestival.com.au
Wednesday, March 9 Sydney - Enmore Theatre Tix via ticketek.com
Friday, March 11 Melbourne The Forum Tix via ticketmaster.com.au
Also playing Golden Plains Festival and WOMADelaide 2011